In HeartMate, Ruis Elder was the thief who first stole, and then returned, the HeartGift T'Ash had made for his HeartMate. Ruis Elder is arrested for this and other thefts, but he was only using the gems he stole to repair machines the original settlers brought with them from Earth. Ruis finds solace and sanity in repairing these long neglected devices. He tries to pretend he does not care; he is a Null and knows his arrest could end with his death.
Ruis has been hunted by his Uncle Baucus T'Elder. Ruis was the Heir to the House of Elder, but after the death of his father and mother, it is discovered he is a Null. Baucus uses this to rob Ruis of his birthright. Baucus is a villain of the first class. He tortured Ruis as a child, and has murdered to secure his rise to Captain of the FirstFamilies. And he wants Ruis dead, for only then will he rest secure in his hold on the House of Elder.
Ailim D' SilverFir is a Judge of Celta. She assumed the head of her house upon her mother's death. She is a Telempath, who uses her ability to read others thoughts to judge those brought before her. But she has to go before the FirstFamily Council, to beg for a loan because her house is in peril. She is so tired for it's hard to always hear the thoughts of others, to know their inner most feelings. Especially when her family is so selfish, greedy and fights her in everything.
While she waits to be called concerning the status on her loan request to save her House, she is surprised by the man waiting sentencing. Ruis Elder brings her peace. She recognises he is a Null, but instead of being fearful or repulsed, she finds his Nullness gives her tranquillity. With him, she does not have to expend the vast Flair energy just to protect herself from the constant intrusion of everyone's thoughts. Since his Null void stops the powers of everyone around him, she finds a haven of peace when she is with Ruis.
With FamKitty flying around on a mini saucer, a spaceship to make HAL jealous, characters from the first novel, and a potent, sexy forbidden romance between Ruis and Ailim, Owen scores BIG with another Winner! HeartMate was just so original, so special it was hard to envision a writer pulling off a second tour de force and make it as marvellous. Most movies and books with sequels, witness the sequels rarely matching the freshness, the spark of brilliance of the original. That is NOT the case with Heart Thief. If anything, it's even better!
Eagerly waiting Heart Duel ( Faster Robin! Cannot wait!!)
We first met the rage filled Null very briefly in Heartmate, as he stole T’Ash’s HeartGift. Heart Thief is his story, as he is captured and brought to trial. The reader finds out some of his awful history of being abused and cast out by those who should have sheltered him – his Family. And now he is to be cast out Druida City, for sins that at least in part should not be attributed to him. Ailim D’Silverfir has recently become Head of her Family. She has great Flair in empathy, and is a Judge. She and Ruis meet and she finds incredible relief in his Nullness – at last she can relax her mental shields and just experience life with her other five senses – a luxury she cannot normally allow herself. But Ruis is supposed to be banished, and she is a Judge…
Although a sequel and sharing many characteristics, the story of Ruis and Ailim is very different from the earlier book. Ruis is such a damaged, rage filled man, Ailim a woman who exudes calm. Both of noble stock, and both very aware of that and the duties of Family which that entails, even as both in one degree or another are betrayed by their Family (whereas Rand and Danith each had none and longed for Family). Ruis has an awful lot to work through as he finds his place in life, and in his world. This part of the story is easily as touching as the romance that he finds with Ailim, and unusually the story is told probably more from his perspective than hers. After all, he has the most to combat and to overcome: certainly his is the longest emotional journey. But Ailim has her own hurdles to overcome too. The Nullness is very different, and it is something I as a reader had to overcome – that there is no psychic bonding between the two central characters was a hurdle for me as a reader. But there is no denying the strength of the story. The Ship and the emergence of Ruis’s technical talents, and the ultimate importance of his very Nullness to Celta was well done.
And of course, the Fams… not to forget the Fams. Even if they would let us.
Sometimes I found the pace a trifle slow, and wanted to urge Ruis and Ailim to get on with it as things got a very little bit repetitive. This might be a niggle in me, and not the writing. This book is also more overtly erotic than HeartMate, which might be a surprise to some readers. The book closes with a peek at the next one – ah yes, one of the Fighting Holly’s is about to meet his match. Bring it on!
Because Ruis is banished from the city, and Ailim is a judge and pledged loyalty to their society, their falling in love is a to be kept a secret...
As the story unfolds it promises to be very good, but the 'villains' of the story are to all-powerful which, I think, unbalances the otherwise very good story. With a less powerful enemy the last part of the book could be much stronger. However I enjoyed the book and will certainly buy Robin D. Owens next book 'HeartDuel' which is about Holm Holly and Lark Collinson Hawthorn (please Mrs. Owens, bring in (an)other Fam(s), because they are sooo much fun! And please do not let the feud between the Hollys and the Hawthorns overwhelm the love-struggle between the two!)
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